Gagging after surgery

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Gagging after surgery

by PuffyHon on Fri Sep 30, 2011 11:53 PM

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My husband was diagnosed with Stomach Cancer in April 2011.  He underwent 6 weeks of chemo and radiation then 6 weeks rest and then had sugery on August 4th (the mass was growing inside the top of the stomach growing into the lower portion of the esophagus). He underwent surgery to remove 20% of his lower esophagus-removing the plug "sphincter" and removing 20% of his upper portion of his stomach). He was doing quite well at the hospital, was released on Aug. 13th, since returning home, he started not been able to drink...whenever he takes sips, by the 3rd or 4th sip, he'll start gagging and then will regurgitate some saliva / liquid / foamy substance out along with whatever he's drank. He could eat, but if he drinks, then it'll bring back up whatever he's eaten say 2 hours ago. So, on Aug. 29th, he was admitted back to the hospital due to dehydration...since admitted, they did 2 swallow test to see what's happening...and the thoracic surgeon said that everything looks fine anatomically and they also did an endoscopy to dilate the esophagus just incase that's the reason...then, he returned home on Sept. 2nd, and since then he has not been able to keep solid nor liquid down.  He was readmitted to ER on Sept. 16th...and still there...he's at the stage of being extremely depressed.  Now he has constant gagging / regurgitation of whatever he puts in his mouth. 

HELP!!! Any suggestions? Did this happen to you, what did you go through and how was it resolved?

Thanks for reading and all your help!!!

RE: Gagging after surgery

by Katherine62 on Sat Oct 01, 2011 05:07 AM

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Yeah...exact same thing.  He may have to seriously consider a PICC line and TPN or J-tube.  

My story... http://lifeaftergastrectomy.wordpress.com

Please email me if you want to "talk" one on one.  

Katherine

RE: Gagging after surgery

by PuffyHon on Sat Oct 01, 2011 11:12 AM

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He's got the PICC line as the dr. Inform us that he can't have a feeding tube... The team of doctors all came by yesterday to see my husband, the GI team propose a different tupe of feeding, basically line a PICC line but going through the nose to by pass the esophagus to see if that's help, but then that means that they now have to do another EDG to remove the temporary stent that was put in on Tuesday... How are u doing? I read on your blog that u're readmitted as well...so sorry to hear. What's the next step/plan for you?

RE: Gagging after surgery

by sckatt on Sun Oct 02, 2011 01:21 AM

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what is the next step while you are waiting in between treatments to see if they have done any good.  my husband was diagnosed with stomach cancer in may. has been in chemo twice, and then radiaion.  now just waiting during radiation recovery and then a scan next week to see what goes next.  what do you do besides being two people, one who has to act normally, me and go to work everyday, and the other, him, who is in the trap of not knowing what's next, how does life go around?

RE: Gagging after surgery

by PuffyHon on Mon Oct 03, 2011 02:27 PM

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On Oct 02, 2011 1:21 AM sckatt wrote:

what is the next step while you are waiting in between treatments to see if they have done any good.  my husband was diagnosed with stomach cancer in may. has been in chemo twice, and then radiaion.  now just waiting during radiation recovery and then a scan next week to see what goes next.  what do you do besides being two people, one who has to act normally, me and go to work everyday, and the other, him, who is in the trap of not knowing what's next, how does life go around?

sckatt,

I would think for your husband's case, it would be surgery next (6 weeks rest after chemo/radiation). 

Believe it or not, life goes on...We have been battling since Feb. 2008 and at that time, our daughter was only 15 months old.  Next month, she's turning 5!

The diagnoses this April was his 3rd.  Each time is pretty much the same. 

6 weeks of chemo/radiation then rest for 6 weeks then surgery, then rest for another 6 weeks then about 3 months worth of heavy chemo.  It has been a long process/journey for our family.

Our date line for this 3rd sugery was:
8/4 surgery
8/13 released from Hopital
8/22 post op check-up (told him at that time, he started gagging and regurgitation around 8/20)
8/29 gagged/regurgitate so much, caused dehydration, went to ER.  Stayed for a week.  Doc. did Endoscopy, basically we were told anatomically, everything looks fine.  So, it's just part of the healing process for him that he's gagging...try different things when you get home.  So, we did.  We tried for 2 weeks...
9/16 re-admitted to ER due to dehydration again, this time, doc. said we're not going to release you till we know exactly what's wrong with you.  (LOST OVER 40lbs).
9/20 got PICC line put in, now on TPN (IV nutrient to stablize his weight).  That weeks, they wanted him to do a nuclear test (which is eat eggs/toast) and they follow through study him.  But after his 3rd sip, he started gagging and then they had to stop the test.  He spent the rest of the day gagging/regurgitating.  
9/27 they put in a stent hoping for good result...he woke up from the procedured and severly gagged and regurgitated for 2 straight days!
10/3 (TODAY), the plan is to remove the stent, as obviously it's not working. 

The hospital is about 1 hour and 30 mins away.  I drive to see him once during the week and with our daughter once during the weekend.  As you said, one have to continue and work!  It's sad but it's reality.

 

RE: Gagging after surgery

by dartnang on Sun Nov 06, 2011 04:42 PM

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Hello sckatt.

 I am wondering since your post how everything is going with you and your husband? My husband has been thru all this(diagnosis, chemo, radiation, surgery, recovery). It has been since Sept of 2006 that he has had to deal with this aweful cancer. I was ucky enough to work for great people who understood I needed to be there. We also had AFLAC which I can't say enough good things about. It payed for me to be home basically. My  husband still has trouble dealing with eating, drinking, living life basically. Everyday is a struggle, some better than others. But he keeps fighting! I know there are days he doesn't want to but way down inside....he manages. I am curious about your husbands surgery. You say the cancer was at the top of the stomach and they left part of his stomach for him? I think that is great! I (we) were told that if the cancer was at the top of the stomach, they had to take the whole stomach. If cancer was at the bottom, then they could poss save part of it. Im hoping things are going well for you and your husband. Please keep us posted. This site is wonderful for finding answers and helping others!!

RE: Gagging after surgery

by PuffyHon on Wed Nov 09, 2011 02:03 AM

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On Nov 06, 2011 4:42 PM dartnang wrote:

Hello sckatt.

 I am wondering since your post how everything is going with you and your husband? My husband has been thru all this(diagnosis, chemo, radiation, surgery, recovery). It has been since Sept of 2006 that he has had to deal with this aweful cancer. I was ucky enough to work for great people who understood I needed to be there. We also had AFLAC which I can't say enough good things about. It payed for me to be home basically. My  husband still has trouble dealing with eating, drinking, living life basically. Everyday is a struggle, some better than others. But he keeps fighting! I know there are days he doesn't want to but way down inside....he manages. I am curious about your husbands surgery. You say the cancer was at the top of the stomach and they left part of his stomach for him? I think that is great! I (we) were told that if the cancer was at the top of the stomach, they had to take the whole stomach. If cancer was at the bottom, then they could poss save part of it. Im hoping things are going well for you and your husband. Please keep us posted. This site is wonderful for finding answers and helping others!!

Hello dartnang,

My husband still can't eat nor drink.  He actually saw his thoracic surgeon today...all we got from the dr. is that he's still stumped and have no idea why my husband is gagging/regurgitating thick saliva (surgery was Aug. 4th, 2011, so, it's over 3 months since surgery).  I can't find anything out on the world wide web about this...doesn't seem like anyone out there have gone through this at all!!!

He now has a PICC line, getting TPN for 12 hours every night.  The team of doctors want him on gut rest for 3 months and see if that will help.  We've 2 more months to go before I think they'll decide on a surgery to put in a permanent feeding tube.  Of course we very much would like to avoid that...but at the rate he's going, seems inevitable!

My fingers are still crossed and I still have hope that perhaps one day in the near future, it'll just happen...he'll just all of a sudden get well and able to eat/drink.

I think he's due to see his GI doctor in a week or so...so hopefully that doctor will have better suggestions!

***SIGH***  It's exhausting!

RE: Gagging after surgery

by Cookterr on Thu Mar 29, 2012 08:11 PM

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hi PuffyHon,

Hope all is going well with you and your husband. On Nov 8 2011 you said "doesn't seem like anyone out there have gone through this at all!!!" - well, I have a dear friend who is going thru exactly what you husband was going thru = not being able to eat/drink...to date, his weight is at about 140 lbs - he is 6 feet tall and weighed around 260 lbs before his chemo which started in Sep 2011 - his operation to remove the cancer from his esophagus was done on Dec 20, 2011 - and now he is unable to eat/drink - is in the hospital for dehydration and they will be putting in a PIC line. Wiil you keep me posted? - and I shall do the same

RE: Gagging after surgery

by Katherine62 on Sat Mar 31, 2012 04:41 AM

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My story is very similar to your husband...please read my blog to see what I have explored with doctors.

Bottom line for me...surgery to remove cancer damaged some nerves which will never grow back.  These damaged nerves resulted in serious esophageal spasms that cause me to immediately vomit any/all liquids.  The nerve damage also slowed my digestive system to the point where it takes anything too long to process that it basically rots in system.  Therefore, I will be on a j-tube for nutrition and IV PICC fluids daily for hydration.  17 hours a day hooked up to one pump or both.  

They say that perhaps over time the spasms will lesson but nothing will improve motility so even if I could drink, I will won't have much success with oral nutrition.  I am working on learning how to accept this new "normal" and find my new purpose/path in life.  I have monthly b12 shots, monthly iron infusion, and other treatments.  

Maybe ask doctor to do a visual swallow test or a motility test - your husband might be having spasms.

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